Along with a number of other delegates from our Club, I joined some 2900 other California delegates to be inspired, caucus, listen to our Party leaders, and to participate in voting for new Party leadership with John Burton stepping down after eight years as Party Chair and so many years of public service. John received a moving tribute from a diverse group of the many California politicians he has mentored over the years.
With a hotly contested election for Party Chair, there was a lot of politicking throughout the Convention. In the end the top two candidates for Chair, Eric Bauman and Kimberly Ellis, were separated by only 62 votes after the tally had been counted twice, and Eric Bauman was announced as Chair. Runner-up Kimberly Ellis asked for an audit of the votes and did not come to the podium on the final day. (I think that the audit is still going on).
The raucous politics gave John Burton many opportunities to deploy his famous colorful language in often unsuccessful attempts to quiet the hall. I really could not hear what DNC Chair Tom Perez was trying to say on the first night of the Convention when a large group of chanting demonstrators walked downstairs behind the dais where he was speaking. In the Trump era of intemperance, when a Montana congressional candidate (now member of Congress) can body slam a reporter, it seems to me that we have an opportunity to score with the American people against Republicans on decorum, but we are not always maximizing the opportunity.
Nonetheless, the energy of the Convention was stimulating, and there was plenty of talk about how to oppose the Trump agenda and defend the California model. Congressman Adam Schiff gave a strong speech on Saturday night setting the tone asking a series of rhetorical questions about “What are we to do when the President…, which all had the answer of “Resist!”
We had a good opportunity to hear from other Party leaders such as Senator Kamala Harris and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, to see all of the declared 2018 gubernatorial candidates (Chiang, Eastin, Newsom, Villagarosa), as well as hear from others who are running for a number of other state-wide offices. There are 14 Republican members of the California Congressional delegation, seven of whom will run in districts that Hillary Clinton won, and there is a lot of unity about working to overturn those seats.
David Atkins also addressed the VCDCC in his role as newly elected Region 10 Director. (The Regional Directors are a level of leadership between the County and the California Democratic Party leadership.) In addition to holding regional meetings, David expects to hold pre-endorsement meetings, regional trainings, and offer conflict mediation assistance if needed. For those interested, David has written some articles giving a very detailed analysis of the race for the California Democratic Party Chair, including this one ...